AIKEN, S.C. -- The salacious details of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's hypocritical, extramarital love life have captivated the media all week. Had the Empire State's chief executive picked a different day to get caught with his pants down and quit his job, some other prominent resignations might have received more coverage. Apparently, there just aren't enough journalists to stake out the Spitzer's Manhattan apartment, track down his hookers and cover these other premature exits.
Tales of the tainted governor took up so much ink and airtime that the potentates of the press didn't even notice the sex scandal that claimed the career of another powerful hypocrite: Tehran's brutal police chief, General Reza Zarei. The general, a favorite of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been responsible for "moral enforcement" of Sharia law, including "dress codes" that require women to be covered from head to toe. The chief "stepped down" after he was caught nude in a Tehran brothel accompanied by six naked prostitutes. It's a shame our press corps missed this one.
Spitzer's sexual shenanigans also pushed another unexpected departure into the background noise -- that of U.S Navy Admiral William "Fox" Fallon, the commander in chief of U.S. Central Command. Though devoid of the titillating details oozing out of Albany and Tehran, the March 11 resignation of the senior U.S. military commander in the world's most troubled and dangerous region is rife with hypocrisy.
Last week, the April edition of Esquire magazine contained a fawning puff piece on Fallon titled "The Man Between War and Peace." The article describes the commander "as brazenly challenging" President Bush on Iran. The highly provocative piece, written by Thomas Barnett, baldly claims that the White House "has been escalating the war of words with Iran" and seems "ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency." According to Barnett, Fallon "has urged restraint and diplomacy."
This week, according to his resignation letter released by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Fallon claims that he is relinquishing command because "the current embarrassing situation and public perception of differences between my views and administration policy and the distraction this causes from the mission make this the right thing to do."
That's an interesting way to describe what some might call insubordination. It was, after all, a "public perception of differences between" his "views and administration policy," that resulted in President Harry Truman sacking General Douglas MacArthur on April 11, 1951 -- in the midst of the Korean War.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.